W. Kamau Bell gets why some find the Bill Cosby scandal “hard to confront” — but he knows whose side he’s on.
“I know some black people say, ‘Don’t tear down this black man,’” Bell tells Page Six.
“But a third of the survivors are black women. Why are we prioritizing one man over all these black women?”
The comedian, 49, is behind the new four-episode Showtime documentary “We Need To Talk About Cosby,” which explores the comic’s legend’s history of philanthropy and commitment to education — while also including candid interviews with many of his victims.
The “Cosby Show” star, 84, has been accused of rape and drug-facilitated sexual assault by over 60 women in the last six decades. He was released from prison in June 2021 — which happened while they were filming — after serving two years of a three-to-10-year sentence for sexual assault, with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturning his 2018 conviction.
“The United Shades of America” host admits that he has a hard time understanding how there are some who refuse to believe the allegations.
“I don’t know how you don’t reckon with the fact that over 60 women have come forward,” he says, noting that women who do go public with sexual assault accusations do not have an easy time.
Coming forward “certainly does not benefit your life in any major way,” he says, adding that he has no “patience” for people spouting conspiracy theories.
Bell says he decided to make the documentary because the comedian was such an important part of his childhood, appearing in shows like “Picture Pages,” “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” starring in kid-friendly commercials and morphing into “America’s Dad” as the loveable patriarch on “The Cosby Show.”
“He had a very big influence on my life — as he did for a lot of people, specifically for black people of that generation,” Bell explains.
“And then you find out about all the accusations of sexual assault and rape and eventually I realized I believed all those women to be telling the truth.”
“How do I then as a comedian answer the question, ‘Who are your favorite comedians growing up?’ How do I say, ‘Bill Cosby?’” the “Totally Biased” host said.
“But if I don’t say Bill Cosby, it feels like I’m lying, so it just felt like, if you’re gonna have this conversation, you have to have the whole conversation and you can’t split it off into parts. Ultimately, you have to figure out, what can I learn from this or what can we all learn from this?”
Bell says that he hopes this leads “to a further conversation” about sexual assault where women feel more comfortable coming forward because “that’s not the case right now and how do we create a system that limits harm?”